In 1966, Henry Bizot became Chairman of BNP, a new bank formed from the merger of BNCI and CNEP.
A graduate in Law and Literature, in 1925 Henry Bizot entered the competitive Civil Service examinations, winning a place at the Inspectorate of Finances. He subsequently joined the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris (CNEP) in 1930 as Deputy Company Secretary, after a brief spell working in the private office of French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré.
Called up at the beginning of World War II, Bizot was wounded during fighting in 1940 near Montmirail. In December 1944, he joined the French Resistance, and then joined up with the Leclerc (2nd Armoured) Division. After the war he resumed his banking career at the CNEP headquarters in rue Bergère, Paris, and made an increasing number of business trips, inter alia to India and Australia. In 1958 he was appointed Managing Director, becoming Chairman in 1964. He immediately set out to modernise the bank.
BNP is born
On 1 May 1966, French Finance Minister Michel Debré informed Henry Bizot that CNEP was to be merged with the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI). The merger would create a new bank – Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP), and he was to be its first Chairman. The close understanding Bizot had with the newly-appointed Managing Director, Pierre Ledoux, was one of the key factors in the success of the merger.
Having reached retirement age, Henry Bizot stepped down in 1971, justifiably proud of his ‘mission accomplished’. He was named honorary Chairman of BNP but continued to serve as Chairman and CEO of the French American Banking Corporation (FABC), Chairman of BNCI-Indian Ocean, and Vice-President of the Catholic University of Paris. He also sat on the boards of several other companies and organisations.